With all that holiday joy joy joy going on around you, is it any wonder so many people get depressed?
We have expectations of great meals and white Christmases, the stress of families and the presumption that everyone around you is happy and having fun, the holidays can lead to bouts of depression, according to Jay Zimmerman, staff psychologist at Ball State University's Counseling Center.
In a university press release, he is quoted as saying, "The holidays are very stressful because people want this time of year to be perfect. Many people have images of perfect family gatherings based on hopes or what they see on television. That puts us under a great deal of pressure."
And people who do not celebrate Christmas can have it just as bad, he said. They see everyone else in a bubble of festivity, and feel worse about themselves as a result.
But fear not. Mr. Zimmerman also offers seven steps to counteract the holiday blues:
• Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol may appear to make you feel better, but it is actually a depressant. It can make already existing emotional problems that much worse.
• Create new family traditions. With so many people living in non-traditional families, or with families coming together with traditions that are at odds with each other (when do you serve the Christmas meal? Lunch Dinner?), creating new traditions can improve family gatherings.
• Include exercise in the daily routine. Exercise improves energy and helps to focus the mind. And for people affected by seasonal affective disorder, a walk in the sunlight can change their day.
• Leave uncomfortable or somber holiday gatherings. If a holiday event goes bad, leave it. No sense in making yourself feel worse.
• Maintain close friendships and confide in those you trust. Talking about your feelings will help to minimize the bad times.
• Read one of the dozens of books on the market to discover stress-busting tips. When in doubt, look to the experts.
• Change expectations by realizing that no holiday gathering is perfect.
Even with these tips, it is easy to feel down at the holidays. If you have feelings of depression that last more than two weeks — sleeplessness or sleeping too much, a lack of appetite, inability to concentrate, a feeling of hopelessness — Mr. Zimmerman strongly suggests that you seek professional advice.
Pierogi R Us
Nothing goes with the chill of winter like pierogi.
Then again, nothing goes with the blast of summer, the leaves of fall, or the lawnmowers of spring like pierogi, either. They're the all-season, all-purpose dish.
The Echoes of Poland Folk Song & Dance Ensemble is here to help feed our winter pierogi cravings with its annual Pierogi Winter Dozen Sale. Here is the deal: You place an order for one or more dozen pierogi. You wait as patiently as possible for Friday to arrive. You pick up your pierogi between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Hall at 5255 N. Detroit Ave.
You try not to eat them all before you get home.
The pierogi come in cheese, sauerkraut, potato, or a mixture of varieties, and they cost just $9 per dozen. The proceeds will go to the song and dance ensemble.
All orders must be made in advance at 419-475-6262 or 419-531-8658.
If you like cookies — if you really, really like cookies (and who does not?) — Dec. 14 is the day for you. If you time it right, you can wind up with cookies galore.
St. George Orthodox Cathedral, at 738 Glenwood Rd. in Rossford, will be selling piles and piles of cookies, including holiday cookies and ethnic specialties such as kolachi and tiropata, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It is the church's 10th annual holiday cookie sale.
To make sure you get the cookies you want, need, and deserve, you can start lining up at 9:30 a.m. Numbers will be handed out in the order that customers arrive, however the event will not begin until 10 a.m. Specialty items, books, and gifts will also be available.
For more information, call 419-662-3922.
Meanwhile, the Paulding United Methodist Church will be holding its annual Homemade Cookie & Candy Walk also on Dec. 14. It will be held in the church fellowship hall, 321 N. Williams St. in Paulding.
The cookie and candy walk will be held from 9 a.m.-noon, or until all the cookies and candy are gone.
For more information, call 419-399-3591.